Flood defences save the UK £1.1bn a year
June 14, 2019 – The full cost-benefit of UK flood defences has been calculated by insurance companies for the first time.
Flood defences save £1.1bn a year in flood damage, it has been calculated.
The modelling, based on thousands of simulations of weather events with and without flood defences, was commissioned by Flood Re and conducted by Risk Management Solutions (RMS). It emphasises the value to UK homes and businesses of flood defence spending and the importance of on-going investment by governments, particularly for flood-prone locations such as Cumbria, Yorkshire, Somerset and the Welsh Valleys.
It shows that inland flooding would, on average, cost almost three times more on an annual basis without the defences – a bill of £1.8bn rather than £700m across the whole of the UK. In England, the government currently spends £600m a year on the construction and maintenance of flood defences. The Environment Agency recently recommended that this should be increased to £1bn.
A study of what happened in Cumbria in December 2015 shows the flooding caused by Storm Desmond would have done damage worth three-and-a-half times as much without river water defences – £2.8bn rather than £600m.
James Dalton, director of general of insurance policy at the Association of British Insurers, said: “The human cost of flooding is immeasurable, putting lives at risk, causing families great trauma and pushing some businesses to the brink. Flood defences are an essential part of the protection system which prevents and minimises the trauma caused by flooding as much as possible.